Union shill Nadine Houghton on the ‘plight’ of hospital cleaners:
These wonderful, inspiring, strong women, predominantly black and minority ethnic, who come to work every day for a multibillion-dollar American multinational corporation called Aramark, are paid a poverty wage. They are told which wards to work on, where to go and what to do. On a daily basis at work, it is not these women that have the power.
Hmmm, I’m told what to work on, where to go and what to do. I must be disadvantaged! I always thought it was just part of ‘having a job’…
But the balance has shifted. The sense of power that these women – indeed all of us – experienced on the picket line is tangible. The scales have tipped in favour of the workers. All because they have organised into a union, the GMB. They have grown in confidence, their consciousness has been raised, their heads are high, and they have done the most powerful thing a group of organised workers can do: they have withdrawn their labour.
Which, given that they are non-skilled workers, is always a bit of a risk. What if the company simply hires replacements from all those immigrants we are told do ‘vital low skilled work’?
Aramark relies on the justification that it pays the workers competitive rates in line with the market and claims it has made a fair and comprehensive offer. Since when did we allow someone’s standard of living to be dictated by the market.
We don’t. We allow someone’s standard of living to be determined by their earning power.
These women do a job you could train a chimp to do, and there’s lots of them.
If we can ever program a Roomba to cope with stairs, like a Dalek, they’ll be no longer needed at all.
Today these women won, even if only for 24 hours. But I have no doubt that after today their determination and solidarity will drive them on to win something that every worker should be entitled to: a wage they can live on and a sick pay scheme that doesn’t force them into poverty every time they are ill.
The struggle of these women is a struggle for all of us that want a fairer society.
I don’t consider a ‘fairer society’ to be one in which people are paid over the odds to do a role that isn’t worth the money shelled out simply because some SJW has decided that they ought to be.